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Comedian Jane Lynch Hams Up New Illinois Ad Campaign

Three new ‘Middle of Everything’ summer TV spots feature one-of-a-kind adventures and attractions around the state including Chicago, Southern Illinois, and the Great River Road

By Todd R. Berger

7.17.23 Jane Lynch in Middle of Everything Illinois Ad
Comedian and Illinois native Jane Lynch evaluates a vintage at Walker’s Bluff Winery in Cartersville for the state’s “Middle of Everything” ad campaign. | Courtesy Illinois Office of Tourism

In late June, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, along with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Office of Tourism (IOT), launched three new TV ads as part of its tourism campaign, “Middle of Everything,” starring Illinois native and Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress, director, and comedian Jane Lynch. The summer campaign features a catchy new song performed by Lynch that promotes the diverse attractions, natural wonders, and outdoor experiences that can only be found in Illinois. 

“Our ‘Middle of Everything’ campaign has been a resounding success—bringing in millions of visitors and generating $1 billion in revenue,” says Gov. Pritzker. “With Illinois native Jane Lynch as our shining star and spokesperson, I have no doubt that we will have a record-breaking year for our tourism industry. Jane, thank you for your partnership as we show the world all that the Land of Lincoln has to offer.”

“Through this administration’s work uplifting Illinois’ Main Street corridors, I have seen first-hand how there is so much to love about our state,” says Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “From our vibrant communities to natural treasures, landmarks, and attractions, the people and places that make Illinois special deserve to be seen and celebrated. The ‘Middle of Everything’ campaign is doing just that, by shining a light on the gems of Illinois. We are ensuring all have a roadmap to fall in love with this state and the diverse regions that are core to who we are.”

“It’s been an absolute joy to bring to life the ‘Middle of Everything’ campaign in new and exciting ways,” says Lynch. “Being able to share my passion for all things Illinois comes naturally, and getting to meet and work with so many inspiring people and unique businesses across the state is an honor.”

The summer ad spots are currently airing in 22 media markets, on TV across Illinois, seven neighboring states, and on cable TV nationwide. For the first time, the spots will make their way to the global stage with the inclusion of the Toronto, Ontario, Canada, market. The ad campaign builds upon the successful inaugural “Middle of Everything” campaign from 2022, which spotlights Illinois as a center of culture, food, outdoor adventures, architecture, history, and more.

“The ‘Middle of Everything’ is a first-of-its-kind campaign that shows international, domestic, and local visitors why Illinois is truly at the center of it all,” says DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “By showcasing exciting outdoor adventures, vibrant cities, charming small towns, and experiences across the state, we are not only attracting visitors but also driving economic growth and supporting jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors.”

The inaugural 2022 campaign led to an additional 2 million trips equaling an additional $1 billion spent in Illinois hotels, restaurants, small businesses, and attractions, according to data from Longwoods International. Additionally, every $1 spent on the campaign equated to $91 in visitor spending while generating $10 in state and local tax revenue for every dollar spent—an enormous return on investment.

Locations featured in the new summer spots span from Chicago to Southern Illinois and bring to life unique destinations along the Great River Road, including Galena, Moline, Savanna, and Nebo. The ads highlight one-of-a-kind lodging like Rocky Comfort Cabins in Makanda and Harpole’s Heartland Lodge in Nebo, as well as thrilling outdoor activities like hiking through Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna and the Shawnee National Forest. They also showcase authentic visitor experiences at small businesses that are part of the state’s Illinois Made program, including Virtue Restaurant in Chicago, Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch in Makanda, and 17th Street BBQ in Murphysboro.

In addition to TV ads, the award-winning campaign will also appear in local, regional, and national digital, print and out-of-home media including in O’Hare International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Times Square in New York.